This final table was all action, and although some of the play was questionable at best, it was certainly entertaining to watch. Everyone had high hopes for either Tran or Liebert becoming the first woman to ever win a WPT event here today but unfortunately it wasn't to be.
E.G. Harvin, the substantial chip leader coming into the final table, personally eliminated every other player in the match before getting down to heads-up. Harvin, an amateur who qualified for this tournament through a $150 satellite, played a wild game that was nothing like the style he employed throughout the rest of the event.
On the first hand of the night, Harvin moved all-in from middle position with pocket deuces, an aggressive move that is almost guaranteed to get you into trouble. That's exactly what happened to Harvin when he was called by Michael Perry who was holding a monster, pocket kings. Even though Harvin could afford to lose the hand, being the chip leader up against Perry who was sitting with a relatively small stack, it would be hard to argue that his move was a well-thought-out one. Bad decisions aside, Harvin managed to hit a flush with one of the deuces in his hand to eliminate Perry from the event.
From there he went on to successfully execute a number of ridiculous plays to bust the other players at the table. In the hand that spelled disaster for Kathy Liebert, she opened the pot for a strange number, $127,000, and put the action on Harvin. In classic movie fashion Harvin then said, "I call your $127,000 and raise you $400,000 more." As anyone with an even partially developed knowledge of the game can tell you, this constitutes a textbook string-bet and has no place in serious poker, let alone a WPT final table. Embarrassingly, Harvin had to be filled in on the meaning of a string-bet and his raise was disallowed.
This was where the real trouble started for Liebert since if the raise had gone through she probably would have folded her cards and not been involved in the hand at all. The flop came T♥ J♠ K♥ and after she checked, Harvin put out the $400,000 he had originally wanted to raise. After a few minutes of thought and a bit of conversation, Liebert decided to make the call. The 2♥ hit the turn.
It's funny when you're hoping for a card to hit the board to make your hand when in reality it's just about the worst thing that could possibly happen. This was one of those times for Liebert since she was holding 4♥ 5♥. She had made her flush, but unfortunately for her, Harvin was holding A♥ J♥ and had turned the nut flush. The rest of the hand pretty much played itself and it was goodbye Liebert.
Once Harvin had narrowed down the field to the final two, the real excitement began. Nenad Medic is a respected pro and has had final table experience in the past. It seemed like he had sized Harvin up perfectly and understood that this wasn't a match that would be won by pre-flop aggression or bluffing. He was going to have to see some flops and show Harvin the best hand to get some chips.
Medic's patience, along with what can only be described as Harvin's absolute donkery, allowed him to take the win in two huge key hands. The first, which pulled Medic out of short-stack status and put him back in the match, came on a flop of T-T-2. Medic was the first to act and threw out a bet of $100,000 which Harvin quickly re-raised to $300,000. After a moment Medic came back over the top for an additional $800,000, making the total over $1 million.
This was definitely the time for Harvin to cut the hand loose but unfortunately for him he decided to make a move. He pushed all-in and was insta-called by Medic who turned over a monster, T-2, the Doyle Brunson. He had flopped the boat and had Harvin, who had come all that way with just ace high, drawing to running aces for a higher full house.
Apparently Harvin isn't afraid to play an ace high hard and fast since the hand which ended the event was very similar to the one described above. The flop came out 5♦ 5♣ 3♦ and after Harvin checked, Medic bet out $150,000. Harvin immediately came over the top and bumped it to $500,000. The turn was a nine, and Harvin quickly bet out $1 million. Equally quickly Medic made the call, something that should have alerted Harvin to the fact he may be in trouble. The river was another nine, of clubs, and Harvin announced he was all-in.
Medic had him covered, although only by a hair, and so Harvin's tournament was on the line. After a long deliberation Medic made the call and turned over 5-7 for a set. He was probably afraid that Harvin had back-doored a higher three-of-a-kind but that was not the case. Harvin only had ace high.
With that hand Nenad Medic ended the tournament and took his first World Poker Tour title. In the interview with Mike Sexton, Medic commented that Harvin had done all the hard work for him, and he had just sat back and waited for a good spot. It was strange because up until the final table, Harvin had been playing a very tight and straight-forward game. In an interview with Harvin just two days ago, he mentioned the fact that if an opponent bet into him, he just assumed he had a hand. It seems like someone gave Harvin some advice between now and then; advice that may have cost him the tournament.